Cheers and fears among locals
Mixed reaction to Trump’s election
Depending on who you are, the astonishing victory of Donald Trump last week was either wonderful or a disaster for the country.
Karl Zahn, who hosts a radio talk show and has owned a local excavation business for decades, is among the former.
As co-chairman of Trump’s Milford campaign, Zahn said he has gotten to know the man enough to realize that people’s fears that his presidency will lead to autocratic rule are "ridiculous."
Some of the things the president-elect has said should be "taken with a huge grain of salt, Zahn said.
He said meeting Trump’s family showed him a different side of the candidate – a side that is gracious and compassionate.
Zahn also believes Trump will follow through on his promises.
"I do believe he will tighten up the border and build a wall" on the Mexican border, Zahn said, because the country can’t afford to take care of all of the illegal immigrants who are coming in.
But he will also treat people with compassion, Zahn said.
And the fact that he is considering U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who disavowed Trump during the campaign, for a position in his administration shows he will have an even-handed approach to government, Zahn said.
"I urge everyone to quell their fears," said Zahn, who said he believes Trump is a true patriot who ran for president because he wants to save the country from inept leaders.
"I think people will see a much different side of him," Zahn said.
But James Squires, a former state senator and Hollis town moderator, said he’s afraid.
Acknowledging that the election "pointed to deep divisions" in the country and that he and other Trump opponents should "put aside the moaning and do our best to come together as a country," Squires said he has major concerns about Trump’s ability to lead.
Diplomatic relations are vital as nuclear weapons proliferate, he said, and Trump is not temperamentally suited to the "slow, tedious work" of international diplomacy, which he said is essential if we are to avoid destroying one another.
"I am not even sure Donald Trump understands basic geography," he said.
And how can a divided nation be healed, he said, by a man who "downplays women and immigrants and says Muslims have a bad religion?"
The idea of an impenetrable wall across the southern border is foolish, he said.
But "accidentally or shrewdly," Trump tapped into "the discontent of people who have not seen their incomes rise and who are unhappy over the huge shift in the way people are able to accumulate wealth – all legitimate feelings," Squires said.
To blame those who are dependent on government for their survival "makes a mockery of the idea that this is a Christian nation," the retired physician said. "As human beings, we ought to look out for one another."
If taxes are cut the way Trump says they will be, Squires said, "The burden will fall on the lowest of the low, and that is very wrong."
Squires, who once ran against former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey for the Republican nomination for governor, said he deplores the tone of the 2016 campaign and its "debasement of decent conversation" into personal attacks.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.